Republicans are ripping White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer this morning for referring to the legality of the IRS’ inappropriate targeting of conservative groups as “irrelevant.”
But Pfeiffer said that to reinforce the White House’s assertion that the IRS’ behaviour is inexcusable.
“I can’t speak to the law here. The law is irrelevant,” Pfeiffer said on ABC’s “This Week,” in a comment that drew ire from Republicans. “The activity was outrageous and inexcusable, and it was stopped and it needs to be fixed so we ensure it never happens again.”
“This Week” host George Stephanopoulos was struck by the “irrelevant” statement, and asked Pfeiffer if he “really believed” that was the case. Pfeiffer attempted to clarify.
“What I mean is, whether it’s legal or illegal is not important to the fact that the conduct doesn’t matter,” Pfeiffer said. “The Department of Justice has said they’re looking into the legality of this. The President is not going to wait for that. We have to make sure it doesn’t happen again, regardless of how that turns out.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) suggested last week that someone should go to jail over the IRS’ targeting, saying he believed laws were clearly violated. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into the matter.
Pfeiffer also took to Twitter to defend himself:
Before folks quoting me out of context get too far ahead of themselves, of course the law matters, IRS conduct is wrong even if legal
— Dan Pfeiffer (@pfeiffer44) May 19, 2013
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